September 23, 2022
September 22, 2022
JONESBORO — Local author Leigh Anne Fortner announced the release of her second children’s book in late July to inspire children in Arkansas and help those in need.
Fortner, who grew up in Jonesboro, said Monday she was thrilled to announce the new book, which she titled “Mariposa: A Tiny Seed’s Big Transformation,” which was self-published on Amazon on July 27.
According to Fortner, “Mariposa” is an illustrated rhyming story about a little seed that is just beginning its life in the desert and is led to believe that nothing can survive in such a harsh environment.
Fortner said children can follow Mariposa’s growth and transformation as they learn that everyone is created with purpose and love.
Like her debut book “The Light,” Fortner said she would donate her profits to local charities and all net proceeds from “Mariposa” would go to “Our House” in Little Rock.
According to Fortner, Our House is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering homeless and near-homeless families and individuals.
Fortner is not only a children’s book author, but also a speech therapist.
Although she now lives in Conway, Fortner graduated from Jonesboro High School in 2006 before earning her bachelor’s degree in speech-language pathology in 2010 and then her master’s degree in 2012 from the University of Central Arkansas.
“My knowledge of language and childhood development, combined with my creativity, has allowed me to produce heartwarming stories that I hope will inspire young children to learn and grow,” Fortner said, noting that she also hopes to create a positive impact. on others by donating all net proceeds from her books to local nonprofit organizations in her community.
Fortner said she is the mother of two little bookworms, daughter, Harper Grace, and son, Ira.
According to Fortner, she never dreamed of becoming a creative writer, but she found inspiration during the pandemic.
“It was a big, scary time,” she said. “I started thinking about things and was looking for a way to help.”
She said the words to her first book came to her one day, so she wrote them down and went from there.
“It was a thing of God,” she laughed. “The words just flooded my brain and I knew this story was something special that needed to be shared.”
Fortner said after sharing her story with family and friends, she was encouraged to publish her book.
So she said she contacted Anastassiya Selezneva, a friend and fellow mother, whom she met while volunteering as a communications partner at UCA.
Selezneva was a graphic design student from Kazakhstan, who wanted to become an illustrator.
“I reached out to her and she was so kind to help me out,” Fortner said. “Now we have a great partnership and plan to create more books together.”
Although she is now learning to self-publish via online courses, she started out with a hybrid or secondary publisher, which cost more than expected.
“‘The Light,’ which was released in 2021, is a heartwarming Christian children’s story in rhyme that explores themes of grief, hope and the ever-present love of Christ,” she said. .
“When I first wrote ‘The Light,’ the whole world had come to a standstill because of COVID,” Fortner recalled. “We all had a feeling of helplessness. I wish I could help, but since I was neither a scientist nor a medical professional, I had no idea what to do. When the idea for the book came up, I thought it would be great to share the proceeds to help out in my own way.
“With more stories to share, I decided I could continue donating proceeds to different nonprofits that are already doing wonderful things in our community,” she said. “It’s just a unique and creative way to give back what I had received.”
In 2021, Fortner established Spread The Light Books (STLB) with a mission to create inspiring stories for children who give back with net proceeds from each donated book in hopes of “spreading light and love.”
By the end of 2021, Fortner had donated over $2,600 to Vine and Village in Little Rock from sales of “The Light”.
According to their website, Vine and Village’s mission is to be a catalyst to serve the people living in and around the emerging college district of Little Rock by helping to meet their social, economic and spiritual needs to bring about true transformation. community.
“While it may seem small, my goal is to grow each year as I publish more books,” she said, noting that she was also able to donate some of the proceeds from “The Light” at “The CALL of Arkansas”, which provides support for foster and adoptive parents in Arkansas.
His next project, titled “Ripples”, is also on the way.
According to her website STLB, “Ripples” is a story of change and hope, which is written from the perspective of a child as she discovers the power of a ripple and decides to plant her own seeds of change. .
For more information on Fortner’s stories or to download free activities that accompany his books, visit Spread The Light Books at www.spreadthelightbooks.com.
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